Green tea has been shown to reduce abdominal circumference
Most of us focus on weight when we start on a health kick. Our goal is always centered on the scale so every day millions of Americans will start the day by stepping on the size and this number will skyrocket after the first of the year. As I have already written, this focus may be misdirected. Weight is significant, but a small waist is more important when you are focused on health. Increased waist circumference is directly linked to an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease. Multiple research studies appear to show that green tea is linked to a reduction in abdominal or central obesity.
So, if I gain weight, doesn’t my waist circumference go up with it? Yes and no. To answer this question, I am going to revisit why waist circumference is a good measure of an obesity-related risk. First and foremost, muscle weighs more than fat per unit volume, so one pound of fat takes up more space than one pound of muscle. As we gain fat weight, it tends to deposit on the core and in particular around the waist. If you gain muscle, it is not centered along the waist in most cases. This central obesity or belly fat is tied to an increased risk of insulin resistance because you have more fat storage and less muscle mass per unit body weight to burn the calories. The resulting metabolic syndrome is the principal cause of the risk for diabetes and heart disease. You can now see why belly fat is a risk and why waist circumference may have a lower weight.
So, why use waist circumference over body mass index (BMI)? In general, I do not like BMI. BMI does not take into account volume, and it absolutely misses the mark on muscle weight. BMI is purely calculated by height and weight. If a male and female are both 68 inches tall and weighs 207 pounds, they would both have the same BMI, but the male may have a waist of 32 inches, and the female may have a waist of 36. Both have different body fat percentages and overall health risks. For this reason, waist circumference appears to be a better measure of risk for some individuals.
So what is this about green tea? Green tea contains compounds catechins that are reported to stimulate our bodies natural metabolism to burn calories and enhance belly fat loss. Below is just a few of the findings of scientific research that appears to support this concept:
- A 2008 study published in the American Society for Nutrition found that mice that were fed a green tea polyphenol or catechin lost 3.2 grams of body weight and this weight was primarily lost in the form of abdominal mesenteric fat. This study was in mice so it may not fully translate to humans. Before the research police send me an email, this has been confirmed in human studies also,,,,.
- A 2002 study from Phyto looked at humans that were treated with a green tea catechin: epigallocatechin gallate. Those treated with the catechin had a reduction in their abdominal circumference by nearly 4.5% in just three months of treatment. They discovered a reduction pancreatic and gastric lipase activity (an enzyme that breaks down fat) and an increase in thermogenesis. This result was confirmed by multiple other studies.
- Green tea exposure was also found to cause a significantly better reduction when added to exercise,.
The bottom line: Green tea is a great addition to any diet with and without exercise. It will boost your metabolism and might hinder the break down of fats in your diet. I recommend 1-2 cups a day.